Year: 2022 Source: Crisis. (2022). 43(4), 323-330. SIEC No: 20220758

Case studies have linked synthetic cannabinoid (SC) use to suicide risk both during and following acute psychoactive effects. No study has explored whether a meaningful relationship exists between SC use and suicidal ideation, planning, and attempts within a generalizable sample. Aims: This work attempted to determine whether SC use is significantly associated with suicidal thoughts, planning, or attempts and whether the association between SC use and suicide may be stronger in certain demographic groups. Method: Cross-sectional self-report data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System were utilized. Logistic regression models were explored within a sample of 29,384 adolescents. Results: A clear connection emerged between SC use and suicidal thoughts and attempts. SC use and suicide risk were strongly related within the lesbian, gay, and bisexual and African Americans populations, even after controlling for depressive symptoms. Limitations: The study was cross-sectional and respondents may have underreported substance use or suicidal thoughts. Conclusion: Whether SC use has an impact on suicidal ideation directly, indirectly, or if it is simply a co-occurring phenomenon, it may serve as a flag of enhanced risk. Physicians must remain cognizant of the SC-suicide risk connection, particularly among African American and/or lesbian, gay, or bisexual patients.